Stephanie Nelson | 

7 Mindless Ways to Save Money on Last-Minute Groceries

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Despite my best efforts to make a weekly meal plan, stock up on items I use a lot, and clip every coupon, last-minute grocery shopping happens.

That doesn’t mean I pay full price.

Here are a couple things everyone can do to save a bit — even if you don’t have time to plan ahead.


1. Take a picture of your receipt (or scan it) as you walk out to your car.

There are quite a few apps that are totally worth using and take just a few seconds.


Scan each item with the Ibotta app as you put it into your cart to see if there’s an available offer, and add the offer by tapping the icon. Take a picture of your receipt as you head to your car and you’ll get paid once you reach $20 via PayPal.

Fetch Rewards

With Fetch, you don’t even have to scan the items you’re buying. Just open the app and use your smartphone to snap a picture of your receipt. You’ll earn one point for every $0.10 you spend on a participating item, and once you earn 3,000 points, you can cash it in for a $3.00 gift card to your fave store.

Savings Catcher

When you’re shopping at Walmart, simply scan the QR code at the bottom of your receipt with Savings Catcher (it lives inside the Walmart app).

If a competitor offers a lower price on any of your items, Walmart will give you the difference.

TIP: Starting Oct. 29, Savings Catcher will move to Walmart Pay. Your earnings will be available to use when you pay with the Walmart Pay app.


2. Use the KCL app to print coupons for printable-only deals.

This little couponing hack is not for perfectionists. It’s only for procrastinators who don’t have time to get every couponing deal.

Open the KCL app and tap “Coupons” on the top bar. Filter results by “Printable” so you don’t even see deals that require a newspaper coupon. Find a few printable coupons for items you know you’re buying.

Make it a goal to print a couple coupons, even if you’re rushing out the door.



3. Shop around the sales — especially for produce.

Ideally you’d find out which items are on sale and plan your menu around that. But that’s not real life when it comes to last-minute grocery trips!

So, focus on shopping around produce sales and discounts. Since produce is such a big-ticket item on your grocery list, it’ll save you money to buy broccoli as a side dish instead of green beans, or vice versa, depending on which sports a smaller price tag.


RELATED: 3 Produce Sticker Hacks That’ll Tell You Exactly What You’re Buying


4. Buy from the day-old bakery selection and save up to a $1 per loaf.

Check day-old bakery items for bread, rolls, bagels and any other bakery item you’re using that week. It’s pretty easy to save at least $1 per loaf or bag of rolls. Make items last longer by throwing them in the freezer until you want to use them.


5. Stock up on items that have bulk discounts.

Some stores, like Whole Foods, offer bulk discounts where you can get 10% off if you buy a whole case of packaged goods.

But other stores — Kroger or smaller, local grocery stores — offer random bulk discounts.

For example, recently I saw a significant discount for buying 10 boxes of dishwasher tabs. Since dishwasher tabs were on my list, I went for it.



6. Check for discounted meat in the morning.

It’s probably discounted because its expiration date is approaching, but if you check with your grocery store in the morning, you can usually find what looks like clearance stickers on good cuts of meat.

Find out more bizarre & extreme ways to get meat for cheap.


7. Grab a handbasket instead of a cart if you’re shopping for one meal.

When you’re stopping off at the store after work for dinner ingredients, or you are out of a couple things you need to make one meal, it’s really easy to buy more than you need.

Check yourself by passing completely on a grocery cart and grabbing a handbasket instead. If there’s nowhere to put a gallon of ice cream, two bags of chips and a Frappucino, I bet you won’t buy them!


UP NEXT: 15 Grocery Budget Hacks for People Who Hate Coupons

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